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Insulting Ontario Teachers Isn't An Education Policy

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07.05.2019

Premier Doug Ford and his Education Minister Lisa Thompson, both inexperienced in education policy and singularly unqualified to be making decisions on it, are all but certain to find themselves in a nasty battle this summer with the unions that represent Ontario's teachers.

A few weeks ago Ford launched an early broadside: teachers should be required to take an annual math test. As policy, the idea is pointless. For it is hard to imagine that even Ford believes his proposal will meaningfully improve the consistently poor scores Ontario students have received on the province's standardized math tests over the past several years.

However, when judged through the lens of naked political opportunism, Ford's idea makes great sense.

PhotoAlto/Odilon Dimier via Getty Images

To begin with, it avoids thornier and more costly proposals, such as reducing class sizes, revamping the math curriculum (Dalton McGuinty tried that early in his tenure, and the kids' standardized test scores dropped), investing in continuing education for teachers, or reminding parents that they have a role to play in reinforcing lesson plans at home.

Rather than treating Ontario's math problem as a serious policy challenge, Ford has chosen instead to capitalize on it as an opportunity to demean and scapegoat an opponent.

When teachers are on the picket lines this September, the premier........

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